U.S. Scholar Offers ‘Pathways’ for Hills Students

Writes: Samir Ghimire

Darjeeling — Final year students of a hill’s college had a Fulbright scholar from U.S.A give ‘pathways’ — a life orientation programme through performing arts.

Prof Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, a performance studies scholar and artist, directed six groups of third year students at Salesian College Sonada in a four day intensive program, from 5 to 8 March 2018.

Fulbright-Nehru Awards enable the most outstanding academics and professionals in India and the U.S. to study, research and teach in the host country. Indian scholars are selected through a rigorous application and interview process.

The workshop focused on how performance like dance and theatre in its many forms—from ritual, classical, vernacular, social to the experimental—can act as a kinesthetically collaborative mode of experiencing, bonding, mapping, and transforming each other,” says Prof Kochhar. “These undertakings can energize and transform our relationships with each other,” she says.

Dr Kochhar continues, “They [these undertakings] can also impact our experiences of urban spaces and the natural world across a range of site-specific locales, build greater cultural understanding, and generate exploratory spaces for change.”

In the concluding session the student teams are scheduled to show case their performances depicting ‘pathways’ to the future, on 8th March.

Dr Kochhar also conducted two short sessions on ‘performance and pedagogy” for faculty members to enable them to touch base in classroom situations.

Author of two books and many articles and a former editor of Theatre Topics Dr Kochhar’s work links dance and theatre research, workshop development, and performance production. Dr Kochhar’s work blends artistic research, experimentation, storytelling, and a range of methods for linking spatial and mapping practices from design, architecture, and geography to new ways of making dance, theatre, and community performances. She is scheduled to conduct similar programmes at Salesian College Siliguri campus for final year students.

Dr Kachhar is currently developing Traveling Architectures, (a Feature Grant, funded by Design Trust, Hong Kong), a series of site-specific performance and design projects, currently planned for Hong Kong, with subsequent phases planned for Kochi, India and elsewhere.

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